Wednesday, October 01, 2014
by Mark Beckwith
I devoted my day to the family of Christian James Graham (Kennedy). Christian died Friday night after a significant and ongoing struggle related to his nevus. This poor child. This poor family. I came to Cincinnati to express to this family the love of over a thousand other families of people affected by nevi.
Today was a day of Funeral / Celebration / Burial / Lunch / Questions and connecting with people –members of Christian’s family, church, neighborhood and community, people with nevi, Christian’s doctors and nurses. The number of people that this child touched in his brief 19 months of life was formidable. The Facebook page about him collected “Likes” from nearly 5000 individuals. Make that +1 as I clicked “Like” last night, ashamed to learn that I had not done so even yet.
Although we had not ever met, Christian’s mom Tanya recognized me as the head of Nevus Outreach, and as we hugged I told her how sorry I was, and how I brought with me the love of over a thousand families of other people with nevi.
All of you reading this who are the families of other people with nevi, I should tell you your love was well received, and it was my honor to be the messenger.
At times like this we can’t help but wonder why things like this happen – the loss and pain is … unbearable. I am not going to weigh in on this idea of there being a reason, except to say I vehemently believe it is not some kind of act of malice or revenge or retaliation or payback or anything like that.
Many people find solace, guidance and wisdom in a book called Psalms. I personally take my most fundamental words of guidance from this book. Among other things it says that God knows the length of our days, and that they were written in the book of life before they came to be.
Christian’s lead doctor, Dr. Thomas Sitzman of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, credited Christian with teaching him how to take care of children, how to talk to parents, how to understand what children need, and how to understand what parents need.
“Knowing Christian has changed how I take care of so many kids now with nevi, and it will continue for as long as I practice, to impact me every day. To make sure that when we take care of kids like Christian, that we do our best, and we take it seriously, and we do everything we can to prevent more children from dying.”
On the day when he is at last free of his labor, this young child and all who knew him must know the resounding victory couched in the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
For all you have done for our world, little Christian, we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts.